you've all heard about kevin smith, famed director, being bumped from a southwest flight due to his weight. he was allowed on a later flight without issue but tweeted the hell out of the issue.
here's my thoughts on the issue:
-poor handling - the issue on the plane was handled very poorly. if smith was already seated, why bump him? why come up to someone on a plane and make a spectacle of the person? it just doesn't make sense to me unless they legitimately pose a danger to other passengers (in the event of an emergency). i also imagine that smith was a bit embarrassed or put off and probably didn't make the situation any easier on the flight crew.
-he should have been bumped - smith admits he regularly buys two seats because he prefers the comfort but was flying standbye and was only able to get one seat. that's fine, but he was seen to be in violation on southwest's 25 year old policy on size. if they have a rule about large people, and he normally buys two tickets, he shouldn't have flown in one seat.
-if he wasn't too big for one seat, and he later flew in one seat, he shouldn't have been bumped. it's not like he lost a ton of weight between flights.
now, i'm a larger individual, although i don't know if i'm as big as kevin smith. many people don't realize it, but my 6' frame usually runs around 250 lbs. now, i wish i was ripped like some pro-football linebacker, but i'm not. i don't always fit into seats very well on planes, but i'm not too big yet. and, i've flown on some itty bitty planes, and even spent a flight from salt lake city next to a guy that was probably a few inches taller than i was, and a bit heavier as well. it was uncomfortable, but i sucked it up and lived with it for the duration of the flight. i can empathize for anyone that has to sit next to me on a flight because they're probably feeling the same way. if i was too big to actually fit in the seat properly, i feel that i would have no right to impose upon the people seated next to me. airplanes are very close quarters, and size can present safety issues.
i saw a person speaking out on nightline against southwest and the airlines in general and compared the issue to height. while it is true that an extremely tall person's legs may block the row, they don't affect the aisle. and, a tall person's legs aren't going to be all up in your space.